Illegal taxis roam freely in Sharjah despite vigil

SHARJAH — Despite stringent measures being taken by the authorities to curb the trend, unauthorised taxis are still operating in the emirate of Sharjah.

By Sebugwaawo Ismail

Published: Sat 28 Jul 2007, 8:31 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:20 AM

The presence of unauthorised cab operators can be attributed to the shortage of taxis and public transport in the emirate, which is unable to cope with rapid increase in the emirate’s population.

However, even with registered and unauthorised taxis plying in Sharjah, commuters still have to endure long waits before they manage to get a taxi.

Sharjah Transport have, on a number of occasions, ordered all private motorists to abstain from picking up passengers in Sharjah. Private companies owning unlicensed buses, too, have ben told to stop this malpractice or else face heavy fines.

“All taxis and buses operating in the emirate must get a trade licence from the Economic Development Department and a vehicle registration plate from Sharjah,” said an official from Sharjah Transport.

In an attempt to discourage unauthorised ferrying of passengers, Sharjah Police in cooperation with Sharjah Transport have started imposing fines on illegal operators.

In a surprise check last week, police officials in civilian vehicles stationed themselves at Al Wahda Road and stopped cars. The passengers were asked to produce IDs and prove that the vehicles they were travelling in were not taxis.

More than 100 unauthorised taxi operators were reported to have been fined in just one day, an indication of the growing malpractice in the emirate.

Mohammad Al Amin, head of Sharjah Police’s Public Relations Department, said it was not a special campaign, but a routine crackdown on illegal taxis in the emirate.

Among those fined were a group of six journalists of a Dubai-based Television Station, who were travelling to their office in an official van but failed to prove to the police officials that the vehicle they were travelling in was not a taxi. A group member said that even though all of them produced their labour cards, they were fined.

‘Private taxis a better option’

By a staff reporter

SHARJAH — Even though Sharjah Transport in cooperation with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) recently introduced big buses to ferry passengers between the two emirates, it hasn’t done much to ease the problem of public transport within Sharjah.

“There are no buses on Al Wahda Road despite a large number of people staying in the area. All you have to do is to go to Rolla which is increasingly expensive,” said Mohammad Abdullah, a passenger who was trapped while travelling in an unauthorised taxi.

Mohammad said the police officers were checking the passengers’ labour cards and jotting down their details on a fine sheet. “We don’t know what it was all about,” he added.

Mohammad also complained that because the authorised Sharjah taxis refuse to go to Dubai, passengers are compelled to patronise illegal taxis.

Ahmed Sulaiman is another passenger who landed in the police trap while travelling in an unauthorised taxi. He pointed out that though it was illegal, the unauthorised taxis have been of great help to him since he works in Rashidiyah and authorised taxi drivers don’t usually want to take passengers travelling to Dubai.

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